Want to make a difference for food banks? Cash, not Kraft, may be your answer
In Washington state, 1 in 11 people face hunger, including 1 in 8 children.
Making a donation to a food bank in your area can make a difference in keeping families fed on Thanksgiving — and year round. But a recent conversation on social media suggests that a lot of the go-to staples for food donation might not actually be that helpful.
Last month, a user on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, shared insight they said they collected from people who patronize food banks.
- Everyone donates Kraft Mac and Cheese in the box. [Customers] can rarely use it because it needs milk and butter, which is hard to get from regular food banks.
- Eggs are a real commodity.
- Feminine hygiene products are a luxury and women will cry over that.
So before you go through your own pantry or head to the store to pick up food to donate, Soundside called up some experts to help you make more impactful donations.
How can you make a difference?
Everyone has a different capacity for giving. Whether you're donating food or volunteering, you're making a valuable contribution to your community, said Nicole King, director of Innovative Programs for Northwest Harvest. Monetary donations help food banks go the extra mile for their clients, though.
"We can make those larger purchases to distribute [food] out to partner programs," King said. "Or we can buy specialty items like the butter and the milk to go with the Kraft mac and cheese. It really provides that flexibility to be more responsive to our communities, when we can work with unrestricted funds in that way."
Is donating mac and cheese really that big of a no-no?
While some customers may not personally be interested in a box of Kraft, or have some milk and butter handy, there may be a customer at a foodbank who does and would actually appreciate a box of mac and cheese.
"90% of the food that we distribute is donated. So we kind of wrestle with, OK — what did we receive? And then what can we do to augment that or make it more practical for folks?" Williams said.
At the end of the day, getting mac and cheese is better than nothing, according to Williams.
Listen to Soundside’s full conversation with Eric Williams and Nicole King by clicking the play icon at the top of this story.